Foreign NGOs suspend operations in Pak`s Punjab province
Last Updated: Thursday, May 05, 2011, 00:45
Lahore: Government officials and foreign NGOs working in flood-hit areas of Pakistan's Punjab province have suspended their activities following the killing of Osama bin Laden due to fears of a backlash by militant groups linked to al Qaeda.

Punjab Governor Latif Khosa had to put off a visit to Muzaffargarh district this week to inaugurate a Pakistan Red Crescent water purification plant and a new village for flood victims because of security concerns, officials said.

As soon as news broke on Monday of bin Laden's killing during a raid by US forces near Abbottabad, international NGOs suspended their activities, including field visits, reportedly on the direction of their organisations.

Officials of foreign NGOs and relief agencies like Save the Children and UNDP suspended their activities in areas devastated by last year's floods.

"Our activities will remain suspended till further instructions from higher-ups," an official of Save the Children said.

Muzaffargarh district police chief Munir Zia said police were on alert and keeping a watch on those suspected of having links with militants.

The district administration has appointed police and volunteers for the safety of NGOs and foreign delegations, he said.

Meanwhile, all regional and district police chiefs of Punjab have been directed to step up security in and around army and police establishments and churches.

Sources in Punjab Police told PTI that after bin Laden's killing and the possibility of terror attacks on security establishments and convoys of armed forces, all field police officers had been strictly directed to depute policemen at sensitive places and to monitor deployment and patrolling.

The information was passed to field formations, they said.

In the provincial capital Lahore, 120 additional armed policemen have been deployed in and around sensitive government buildings and offices of armed forces and police.

Up to 60 paramilitary Pakistan Rangers personnel have been posted around the US Consulate near Simla Pahari.

SSP (Operations) Muhammad Faisal Rana said that in view of alerts regarding possible attacks on establishments of armed forces and police, security had been beefed up across Lahore and additional police officials deputed in and around sensitive buildings and installations.

Extra security is being provided to all foreign consulates in Lahore, he said.


First Published: Thursday, May 05, 2011, 00:45

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